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  • Writer's pictureJere Folgert

Garlic Guide: Nutrition Facts

Updated: Jan 28

Garlic Guide: Nutrition Facts.

Garlic contains several vitamins and minerals, although a single clove doesn't provide much due to the small serving size. Each clove contains a small amount of vitamin C, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K, manganese and other nutrients, according to the USDA.

Not all garlic is the same. Many studies by universities concluded that organic practices produced more nutritious crops. Also, garlic grown in organically-rich soil can also promote more nutritious and flavorful garlic, as compared to garlic grown in large commercial operations. Published in the Journal of Applied Nutrition, a report showed significant differences in the mineral content of organic and conventional produce purchased in suburban Chicago grocery stores. Over a 2-year period organically grown food averaged 60–125% more iron, zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium relative to conventionally grown counterparts. Since then, a number of studies and meta-studies that compared conventional and organic foods reported a wide range of results and conclusions. A widely publicized meta-study reviewed 223 studies of nutrient levels and contaminants in a wide range of foods. The authors reported that conventional produce consistently had significantly higher levels of pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Conversely, organic produce had higher levels of phenols. In other words, Not all garlic is the same. Not all garlic contains the same nutrient levels.


Buy local garlic or garlic grown at a small garlic farm. Or, better yet, grow your own garlic and support your small garlic farmer.

Garlic Nutrition Facts: Calories, Carbs, and More.

While garlic is a low-calorie food, it’s not particularly rich in the daily nutrients you need. Most of us use garlic for the superb flavors. But as per the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) MyPlate Guidelines, it is on the list of healthy ingredients you can include in your diet. Some people claim that garlic is most useful as a spice or as a way to bring out the flavors of other healthy foods, like vegetables. Garlic is also thought to be a source of amino acids the building blocks of proteins and enzymes, which can help your body build muscles and protect your gut health, respectively. The following nutrition facts for garlic from the USDA are based on a serving estimate of 1 teaspoon (tsp):

Nutrition Facts: One (1) Garlic Clove.

Protein: 0.57 (g)

Total lipid (fat): 0.04 (g)

Carbohydrate: 2.98 (g)

Energy: 13.41(kcal)

Sugars: 0.09 (g)

Fiber, total dietary: 0.19 (g)

Calcium: 16.29 (mg)

Iron: 0.15 (mg)

Magnesium: 2.25 (mg)

Phosphorus: 13.77 (mg)

Potassium: 36.09 (mg)

Sodium: 1.53 (mg)

Zinc: 0.1 (mg)

Copper: 0.03 (mg)

Manganese: 0.15 (mg)

Selenium: 1.28 (mcg)

Vitamin A: 0 IU (IU)

Carotene, beta: 0 (mcg)

Carotene, alpha: 0 (mcg)

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): 0 (mg)

Lutein + zeaxanthin: 2.34 (mcg)

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid: 2.81 (mg)

Thiamin: 0.02 (mg)

Riboflavin: 0.01 (mg)

Niacin: 0.06 (mg)

Pantothenic acid: 0.05 (mg)

Vitamin B-6: 0.11 (mg)

Folate, total: 0.27 (mcg)

Vitamin K (phylloquinone): 0.13 (mcg)

Folate, DFE: 0.27 (mcg_DFE)

Cholesterol: 0 (mg)

Hardneck Garlic Grown in Organically-Rich Soils in Montana

How to Select and Store Garlic for the Best Quality and Taste

Pick the garlic bulb up and give it a light squeeze to be sure none of the outside cloves are too soft or dry. The entire bulb and the cloves inside should feel firm and not hollow or dehydrated. Keep an eye out for green sprouts which may be an indication the garlic is ready to grow. You can keep the bulbs in a bowl of water, then harvest the garlic greens. You’ll want to look for bulbs that do not have bruises, mold, brown or black spots. Garlic can have a variety of colors including white, cream-yellow, and even purple. Purple garlic is likely in the Purple Stripe family, and are often available from local growers, farmer's markets and specialty markets. Some of our favorite purple stripe garlic include Metechi and Bogatyr. Metechi and Bogatyr are indistinguishable from each other.

Tips for Cooking With Garlic in Your Home Kitchen

Garlic has an intense flavor and smell, thanks to its sulfur-containing compounds. Raw garlic contains a component called Allicin. When raw garlic cloves are crushed, chopped, or chewed, an enzyme called alliinase is released. Alliinase catalyzes the formation of sulfenic acids from L-cysteine sulfoxides. Sulfenic acids spontaneously react with each other to form unstable compounds called thiosulfinates. Because alliinase also is deactivated by heat, cooked garlic is less powerful medicinally. The antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antithrombotic effects that have been attributed to garlic are thought to be related to allicin and other breakdown products. The antineoplastic effects may be related to the sulfur compounds or to other, unknown components. Raw garlic is typically crushed, sliced or minced before being added to a favorite dish. You can also sauté garlic cloves in olive oil or roast them in the oven. Garlic that has been sliced, chopped or minced can easily be frozen into individual cubes for easy access and use.

Side Effects of Eating Garlic?

According to the African American Policy Forum (AAPF), the consumption of excessive amounts of raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal upset, flatulence, and changes in the intestinal flora. There have been reports of allergic dermatitis, burns, and blisters from topical application of raw garlic. The ingestion of one to two cloves of raw garlic per day is considered safe in adults. The most common side effect of ingested garlic is breath and body odor. Consumption of excessive amounts of raw garlic, especially on an empty stomach, can cause gastrointestinal upset, flatulence, and changes in the intestinal flora. There have been reports of allergic dermatitis, burns, and blisters from topical application of raw garlic. Garlic appears to have no effect on drug metabolism although recent studies in healthy volunteers show conflicting results related to garlic’s effect on protease inhibitor pharmacokinetics. It has been suggested that patients taking anticoagulants use caution when taking garlic because of its antithrombotic properties. It seems prudent to stop taking high dosages of garlic seven to 10 days before surgery because garlic can prolong bleeding time and has been associated (in one case report) with spontaneous spinal epidural hematoma.

Eating garlic or taking garlic supplements can cause the following side effects in some people:

  • Heartburn

  • Upset stomach

  • Bad breath

  • Body odor

  • Diarrhea

  • Burning sensations in your mouth and throat

  • Ulcers

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Allergic dermatitis, burns, and blisters


Garlic Overview and Conclusions

Irresistibly tasty, garlic has a savory and pungent flavor. Garlic has long thrilled human taste buds with its aromatic, bright, thwack of flavor. Garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of the onion family, and is classified in the same genus to which onion, leek, chive, and shallot belong. Garlic, grown for its underground bulb, contains numerous health-promoting phytonutrients. Robust-flavored garlic cloves contain many unique phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have potential health benefits. Historically, garlic was used primarily for its medicinal components. In ancient civilizations, people used it in hopes of increasing their strength. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "Garlic is among the oldest known horticultural crops." ... "There is clear historical evidence for its use by the Babylonians 4,500 years ago and by the Chinese 2,000 years ago." Researchers have found references to garlic in both Egyptian and Indian cultures dating back some 5,000 years.

Today, garlic continues to be a common seasoning in foods and packaged goods, but its potential medicinal properties are also gaining more appreciation in Western cultures. Today, how much garlic is grown annually? Around 24,000 to 26,000 acres of garlic are planted annually in the United States with a total production of over 400 million pounds. An estimated 10 million tons of garlic are produced worldwide.

Not all garlic is the same. Garlic produced in large-scale commercial operations very well may only contain a fraction of the nutrients and flavors found in garlic grown by small farmers. Support your local farmers and leave those tiny, flavorless bulbs where you found them in the grocery store. Instead, grow your own garlic and support your small garlic farmer.


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